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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  January 16, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PST

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the battle of ft. lee, and now the assault on fort hillary. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this road hog, the deliberate closing of the washington bridge has just got serious. the special investigator brought in after his role in the successful prosecution of rod blagojevich has about 20 subpoenas in the case. he is not going after just bridget kelly, who promises to be the star witness and bill stepien, the campaign manager, but a wide variety of figures including those at the christie reelection campaign. this says the new jersey assembly people mean business.
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they picked an investigator with a big notch on his belt all right, reid schar. they have given him wide latitude to get to the truth, including which of christie's cronies tried covering up this caper. supercharged his investigation of richard nixon by hiring john doar who earned his spurs in robert kennedy's department let's see where this is all taking us. heather haddon has been covering this story for "the wall street journal." heather, i'm impressed by the speed with which this special investigative committee has moved in issuing some 20 subpoenas already. >> yeah, it has moved very quickly. now they are issuing the subpoenas at some point today. we don't know exactly when. and during the press conference that was just held about this, we weren't given any names. so they are not confirming any names until the subpoenas are actually issued to 17
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individuals and three organizations. we were told that all the individuals and organizations are within new jersey. and when asked, assemblyman wisniewski who is chairing the committee said none of the names should be surprising. well could see bill stepien and bridget kelly. those are names that have been discussed in the past. but we don't have that confirmed as of now. >> we have heard from wisniewski, who is chair of the special investigative committee on the new jersey assembly that he was surprised at the breadth of the subpoena issuing. he thought it was just going to be kelly and stepien. he said this is what he learned from a smart investigator, go wide. >> yeah, well, the investigation really is moving in directions that they did not anticipate in the beginning. when we started this investigation several months ago, it was just the port authority. since then they have said repeatedly this is going to move on to other organizations, other individuals. again, they have not said they're subpoenaing governor christie at this point. but they have made it clear that it has moved into the
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administration. and the legal council they have retained for this investigation is very prominent. he worked in illinois successfully for the prosecution you discussed. and we were told today that legal counsel has had discussions with the front office of the christie administration today in discussing the process. so they are moving very swiftly on this. >> thank you so much, heather haddon of "the wall street journal." so to recap what happened today in the george washington bridge confango here, the chris christie scandal, 20 subpoenas have been issued, 17 individuals, three organizations. we believe one of them is going to be his campaign committee. recipients will be given approximately two week news to respond to the subpoenas. so the investigative committee expects responses in early february. at this point they will not be subpoenaing documents from the governor himself yet. they're issuing the subpoenas based on references people mentioned in the documents they have seen.
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according to, names like richard kelly, i assume. and this they point not to have any leads right now pointing to the governor yet. but the committee chairman stressed that could change that is wisniewski. as of now the committee is not expected to meet again until mid-february when they get the people coming in of course on these subpoenas. joining me now assembly woman bonnie watson. thank you, assemblywoman. what are you curious about? what do you want to know as a politician who is involved in the assembly, has watched governor christie's behavior, his m.o., if you will, and has watched this case unwind. what it is when you go to bed at night do you think somebody i would like to know something i don't know the answer to yet. >> well, unlike the governor, i haven't lost any sleep in bed over this. but i do want to know as a legislator, as a lawmaker, as someone who is supposed to be upholding the law where does this go? what happened here? who was responsible for this? we know that there was an abuse
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of power. we know that there was an incident which created havoc, perhaps unsafe conditions that inconvenienced thousands of commuters. well live in the most densely populated state in the nation. we always have traffic. so that was just an additional burden. what i want to know, i want to know where did the idea come from, how far does this go, and what was the motivation. and if i can't find out the motivation, at least let us follow all of the information that will ultimately take us to the beginning of this. >> what do you make of the governor's change in wording? he first of all said he would be open to all investigations. and then he said he would be open to all appropriate investigations. how does he get to decide what is appropriate? can he pull executive privilege and say you're not talking to my chief of staff, you're not talking to my lawyer? how far do you think he is going to go with this use of the word appropriate? >> well, i'm going to tell you,
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chris, he cannot say that this legislative inquiry is inappropriate. we're the investigative branch of government. we have an accountability responsibility. we're an equal branch of government. so if he wishes to use language of that nature and speak to what is and what is not appropriate, then he cannot in any way form suggest that the legislative inquiry that is taking place here or the forum that is in charge of this inquiry is inappropriate. >> well, assembly woman, please hang in there. i want to bring in steve kornacki here. host of "up" on weekend mornings here. he has been a tiger. not just the bringing in of reid schar, who is pretty good of a hotshot investigator and prosecutor out of illinois, having gone and succeeded with the blagojevich case. he is off in prison somewhere after these guys did their work. my question also about the lawyering of christie, brought in gibson, dunn & crutcher, a big firm in l.a., apparently
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giuliani buddies over there. he is lawyering up, preparing for worst. >> if you talk to democrats down in trenton, some democrats down in trenton, anyway, the apprehension that i pick up on is the existence not of this assembly committee. the assembly committee, when you talk to democrats who are eager to really get to the bottom of this thing, they like this committee. they like the counsel who has been brought in. this looks like a real first rate professional operation that is being put together here. and when you look at the scope of the subpoenas we're now talking about right away, you're looking at a committee that means business. the trepidation that you pick up when you talk to the same democrats is the existence of the senate. the senate investigation, and they're wondering if it doesn't -- two things. one is the fact that the reality of trenton and the reality of new jersey politics that you really need to understand nationally is nationally we're so used to looking at democrats, republicans, democrats try to get republicans, republicans try to get democrats. in new jersey, there is a band. there is a powerful band of
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democrats who are aligned with and who will protect and whose interests are aligned with chris christie's. and one of them is president of the state senate. that's steve sweeney. he is part of an organization, a democratic organization in south jersey that has been very friendly towards this governor. so there is a lot of skepticism toward him, towards norcross democrats, especially in the state senate. and there is a fear that the existence of these two committees, assembly and senate committee would create an opening for the governor's office to go to court and basically say look, this is an undue burden. you are subpoenaing, the assembly is subpoenaing somebody, the senate is subpoenaing somebody. >> yes, steve. steve, can you hear me? >> and the court should step in and act adds one. and there is the potential for the christie administration to create a little mess that really bogs this thing up in court. that's where they talk to democrats. >> michael isikoff is reporting to us, confirming that the new jersey seat that you're skeptical about, david samson,
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of the port authority, and regina egea who is next in line to be the governor's chief of staff. if they're going to put this thing and slow ball it, steve, why are they going ahead and bringing in these hot witnesses? >> no, the question being asked by democrats is you have these parallel investigations going on. does it create an opening for christie administration to go to court and say you're subpoenaing the same people. each committee is subpoenaing the same person. each person is asking for documents from the same person. well need a court to step in and say the legislature should be acting as one. that is the concern when i talk to democrats down in trenton. that's the concern that i hear. >> assembly woman, are you worried about -- is anybody able to hear me? can you hear me up there? >> yes, i can. >> i'm sorry. i'm trying to moderate this discussion. assemblywoman, are you concerned what steve's concerns are, that there might be a conflict between the purposes, the ultimate purposes of truth getting between your house, the assembly, and the senate up there that may want to slow walk this thing?
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>> i can't speak to the senate's motivation. i can simply tell you that we've been moving with due haste. we have been doing our due diligence. we're going to continue to move forward. the senate obviously is behind us. it's just beginning to do whatever it is it's trying to do. i don't think that at the end of the day, we're going to slow down what we do. we're going to follow the information. we're going to be aggressive in getting the information. we're going to be respectful of the process, and we're going to declare everybody is innocent until otherwise proven. but there is nothing that the senate can do or the governor can do that is going to deter us or detract us in doing what we need to do. >> well, governor christie, as i said, has hired a lawyer today. his office put out a written statement that former federal prosecutor and rudy giuliani aide randy mastro will assist, quote, the internal review. the statement said governor christie made clear last week that he will conduct an internal
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review to uncover the facts surrounding the lane closures in ft. lee. his administration is fully cooperating with the u.s. attorney inquiry and other appropriate inquiries and requests for information. now, of course, in december, the governor made very different remarks. let's look at what he said in december about how he would never even begin to find out, because he didn't want to, what was going on. he didn't want to be, as he put it, a prosecutor. >> you guys want to keep chasing it around, chase it around. it's your business. but i'm not running an independent investigation. i'm not a prosecutor anymore. i'm the governor. >> well, here he is. and i have to tell you, jay rockefeller, there is a senator who is not taking any gulf from this guy. from the u.s. commerce science and transportation committee submitted questions to the port authority last month about the traffic mess. and he was pleased with the response. these are excerpts from his statement. quote, the port authority's response provides zero evidence that the purpose of these
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closures was to conduct a legitimate traffic study. i am also disturbed by the evidence showing that the port authority's professional and engineering staff raised serious concerns about the lane closure plan. they explained that the closures would cause significant congestion and delays and would increase the risk of sideswipe crashes. it's unconscionable that anyone would block commercial traffic and risk the safety of thousands on our interstate highway system in this way. steve, it looks to me like the feds in the form here of the united states and jay rockefeller is retiring at the end of this year is going to go out with a bang. it looks to me like we got to look at this whole other front here of the federals talking about interstate commerce, bridge crossing between jersey and new york, clearly interstate commerce. where do you see the action on that end? >> well, look, we have to ask yourself what has moved this along so far. we're talking about something that took place all the way back in september and didn't really explode adds a story until the last week, the last ten days.
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why did it explode as a story? it's because of the assembly power of the state assembly committee, the subpoena power that was looking into it and the documents that emerged from that and the documents that came into public view. that's what exploded this story. and if this story at least publicly is going to continue to play out, questions being raised with questions being answered, any of the subpoenas that come out from anybody that is looking into this, whatever committee it is that is looking into this, does the governor's office, do they comply with the subpoena, do they supply all the documents that are requested and do we get to see the documents? as long as that keeps happening, as long as that process keeps playing out, i have no idea where it's going, but there are going to be all sorts of new revelations and this story is going to stay alive for a long time. but if that process gets slowed down, if that gets bogged down in some kind of court fight over should the assembly have this power, should the senate have that power, that changes things. also, if the u.s. attorney steps in and basically shut downs and takes over, you don't know where that is going to go. this is a u.s. attorney in new jersey who doesn't have a lot of experience when it comes to the high level public corruption
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cases. it's not something he has made his priority. he has not run his office for better and for worse, he has not run his office the way chris christie ran the u.s. attorney's office. and you do have the issue of how many chris christie people are still in the u.s. attorney's office. so if this u.s. attorney's office comes in and takes this over and shut downs the assembly and senate side of it, that could ultimately be a good thing, but i think in terms of a public standpoint, in terms of what we are learning so far, that will shut that process down for a long time. >> it looks like we have a lot of legs to this. thank you so much. last point. >> thank you. i was simply going to say we're not looking at criminal activity. we're looking at policies and actions that occurred that negatively impacted the citizens of the state of new jersey. and no one shuts down the legislative inquiry into those things. not the u.s. attorney, not the governor, not anybody. and so maybe there will be a
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different bent to this investigation. we will wait and see. but i assure you, the assembly will be front and center in trying to get at the truth. >> well said. thank you very much assemblywoman bonnie watson who is on the investigating committee. >> thank you. >> and steve kornacki, thank you for opening up all the legs of this story. coming up, chris christie goes to war. he is facing as we said multiple investigations as steve said. he's got the subpoena coming at him and hostile right wing. and he can't get past all of this. by the way, he is hitting up his big donors this weekend. christie's presidential ambitions may be in jeopardy, but he is not stopping his movement toward that. senators are using the report on benghazi to place blame directly on hillary clinton, the person. the report never mentions her name, by the way. the jersey jam and benghazi. why bridgegate, or road hog i call it pose as much bigger threat to chris christie than what happened in benghazi to hillary clinton. that's what we think. finally, let me finish with more on this new bipartisan senate report on benghazi that backs up to the t, to the dotted i susan rice. boy does she look good now. and this is "hardball," the
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place for politics.
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take a look at this nugget from our new nbc marist poll. texas senator ted cruz, the flavor of the month among republicans for much of 2013, has fallen off the map. here is who republicans and republican-leaning independents say they support in the 2016 presidential primary race. chris christie still out in front with, well, 16%. followed by paul ryan, rand paul, jeb bush, marco rubio, and rick perry, believe it or not. rick perry is still up there. ted cruz way down the list, below rick perry, his fellow texan. he only got 5%, which happens to be the same as rick santorum. well, that will tell you something. of course, just one poll, and it's very early. but cruz is the bubble gum that has lost its flavor. and we'll be right back. cialis tadalafil for daily use
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welcome back to "hardball." you can't beat facts with spin, not when the facts are still coming in. and christie, of course, governor christie isn't waiting around for the new fax. the headlines in "the washington post" today, christie and his aides are planning a comeback campaign after the bridge flap. so it's only january, let's face it, and christie's staffers are facing a flood of subpoenas as of today. state lawmakers are gearing up for more hearing. and the u.s. attorney hot on christie's trail. senator jay rockefeller's commerce committee down here in washington is also digging in for its own dirt. and the guy who brought down blagojevich, by the way, is the leading special prosecutor up in trenton. and you also got class action lawsuits being filed by anybody in that traffic jam. you don't know what lawyers are out there looking for people. anyway, the star witness in all of this is of course bridget kelly. it's only an amount of time before we hear her side of the story, and everyone will be watching. she has already been named as a defendant in one class action lawsuit. you can bet more than anything she knows what is coming, more suit against her.
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so she has to decide whether to defend herself out there and turn the tables on christie, the governor, or she gets destroyed in court as a liar, a stoop, and all kinds of things he has called her. you don't stay mum after those kinds of attacks. it will play with a bang, many people believe, not a whimper. it's clear for christie, he only has one shot at being president. he either wins this baby big, knocking everybody out of the courtroom or he goes down. jonathan capehart is a columnist for "the washington post" and msnbc political analyst. i guess this whole question is the comeback trail, and the difference between publicity pr, public relations, what gives it in newspapers and what is going on in back rooms when people are work witnesses and making deals and giving immunity, and all kinds of stuff, and pushing and screeching. you got to talk, you got to talk. and who wins the fight? the people in the back room or the pr out front?
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for christie, he thinks he can win out front, apparently, i think christie is doing the right thing. he is the comeback kid, just kind of like the other guy, bill clinton who is the comeback kid amount. you got to keep going forward. this is all part of the process. you're right. all these back room guys are saying don't talk, keep it quiet. be strategically smart with your defense. but for christie, either he is telling the truth or he is not. if he is telling the truth, he is going to be fine. if he is not telling the truth, he is going to be done anyway. so keep going forward. >> well, that's a good point. i have to go with that one any way. jonathan, that's mine. have i an old lincoln quote somewhere that makes that point. if the facts go against you, you're screwed. and in this case, i think it is going to come down to what happens in court. and i want to -- you talk about this. and i'm going to tell you what happened to nixon. because it's a very interesting parallel. >> it does depend on what happens in court. specifically, use said, does bridget anne kelly speak? does bill baroni get subpoenaed and he speaks? do any the people on the e-mails and texts we've been talking about for the past few weeks, do
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they go into court and do they bring more evidence, more e-mails, more text messages with this that might not tie the governor directly to the mess that they created on the george washington bridge in ft. lee. but at least puts him -- it casts a shadow on his judgment and his leadership. because one member, one republican person said these are the types of people you're hiring. what does that say about you? >> it says you're like them, and they're like you. by the way, the fish rots from the top. that's something dukakis said. the only thing memorable he said when he ran for president. you take your lead from the boss. people end up talking like the boss, dressing like the boss. all the people working for kennedy, thin ties, the whole routine, short hair. christie might be able to weather the political storm, but he can't escape evidence. if you want proof, take a look at president nixon's approval ratings during watergate. this is fascinating.
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in june of '72, the watergate break-in took place. it was five months before nixon's 49-state reelection. for five months the guy was floating high after the watergate break-in. in january of '73, the following year, two of nixon's aides were convicted of conspiracy, which started the real political downfall of nixon. nixon's approval ratings tanked, going from 67% in the beginning of '73 down to 24% when he had to resign in '74. so nixon was able to bluff it. he had the pows coming home. everything was great. christie can do all the campaigning and showboating he wants, he will argue, be you might as well, because he is going downey way. he might as well have a good time. >> bridgegate is no watergate. completely different. >> road hog. operation road hog. bridgegate is so boring. >> there are high crimes and misdemeanor was president nixon. >> a break-in was worse than this?
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if you were in that traffic? >> traffic is annoying. doing something to the constitution is really kind of breaking the law. >> remember, nobody drowned at watergate. >> that's also true. listen, i think for christie, he's got to keep moving forward. and i think that the donors still like him. he is the republican primary voters still like him. >> do you think -- let's be tough here. if he is a bully, is it the smart bully move to be big shot? go down to rick scott's fundraiser in florida, be a big shot, throw your weight around down there, make yourself so that the people back here like, well bridget kelly, oh my god, i can't beat that guy in court. they won't believe me against him. >> i think that's exactly right. and if he is going to be a bully, let him be a bully against bureaucrats. let him be a bully for the taxpayers. i don't think people necessarily dislike bullies as long as they're on their side. >> does your party like bullies? come on. i have a statistic for you. chris christie strong leader
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among everybody, 49%. among a bully, 26%. among your crowd, republicans, 71% say he is a strong leader. only 11% say he is a bully. >> they want someone to get something done and tame the bureaucracy. >> it's a bully party. anyway, let me read you, i have to leave you with this, jonathan. this is what abraham lincoln said in a manner similar to this. if the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won't amount to anything. if the end brings me out wrong, then ten angels swearing i was right would make no difference. >> here is what i have to say to that, chris. i highly doubt there will be ten angels swooping down for governor christie. there are too many people who were involved in this, who are very close to him. and like i said before, even if he is not directly implicated, the people who are so close to him, it casts a very big shadow over his leadership and his judgment. >> okay.
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you're one of the sour fin of catholic school stuff. thank you, john ferry, jonathan capehart, all the different kinds of angels. thank you, sir. up next, the bridge chris christie fought to keep open nearly three decades ago. never forget what you write in school comes back. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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we put together -- i think we excerpted the highlight. this would be the highlight of governor chris christie's remarks yesterday during the state of the state address. take a look. >> i shank by over 20%, but i remain the largest human in america.
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>> largest human in america. >> how do they know to do that? time pour the sideshow that was david letterman's takeaway from chris christie's state of the state address on tuesday. while there is no doubt it's a shiny object for late night folks, one concern is taking issue with bruce springsteen's recent appearance this week on "the late show" with jimmy fallon. on his show yesterday, rush limbaugh called springsteen a low-rent character. those are fighting words from the rush belt. and all over twitter today, it's from the earliest days of christie's political career. this time it's about keeping a bridge open. a 1984 article from christie's days at the university of delaware couldn't be more ironic considering what we know now. its headline reads "bridge to be open for graduation." it's about christie, who is then the president of the student congress at delaware announcing that plan construction over a major thoroughfare, route 896 would not affect traffic during
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commencement. here is a bit of news from hollywood that might have been overshadowed by today's oscar announcements. mega producer harvey weinstein revealed he has plans to take on the national rifle association, the nra with a new film on the gun issue. yesterday weinstein described what he has in mind, and he is talking big-time. >> i don't think we need guns in this country. and i hate it, and i think that the nra is a disaster area. and i'm going to actually make a movie -- i shouldn't say this, but i'll tell it to you, howard. i'm going to make a movie with meryl streep, and we're going to take this issue head-on, and they're going wish they weren't alive after i'm done with them. >> a documentary type thing? >> a big movie. >> a big movie. >> like a "mr. smith goes to washington". >> that will move people to perhaps rethink the gun situation? >> those gun stocks, i don't want to be involved in that stuff. it's going to be like crash and burn. >> really? >> we'll see how this fight between weinstein and the nra turns out. should it be a big battle. up next, the right wing fog
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machine is doing what it does best, distorting, misrepresenting and attacking. this time they're twisting with the big senate report on benghazi had to say about hillary clinton. it had nothing to say about hillary clinton. and that's ahead. and you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. are you flo? yes. is this the thing you gave my husband? well, yeah, yes. the "name your price" tool. you tell us the price you want to pay, and we give you a range of options to choose from. careful, though -- that kind of power can go to your head. that explains a lot. yo, buddy! i got this. gimme one, gimme one, gimme one! the power of the "name your price" tool. only from progressive.
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welcome back to "hardball." republicans are back on benghazi again using a new bipartisan report from the senate intelligence committee to attack hillary clinton before the 2016 presidential race even begins. let's be clear, the report did not find any evidence of a cover-up.
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her failure to do so clearly made a difference in the lives of the four murdered americans and their families. and one republican member of the committee, marco rubio, who is also obviously a candidate for president next time began to lay the groundwork for a 2016 campaign against hillary clinton. here he goes. >> she has ultimate responsibility, secretary clinton did at the time for the security of our personnel. no one has been held accountable to date, certainly none of the decision make verse. and she herself says the buck stops of at the top. and she was in charge of this state department at the time. i think anyone's record when they run for president is going to be carefully examined. and if in fact she decides to run, this is a part of her record that and rightfully so will have careful examination. >> james carafano, let me ask you about this whole question. if you read the report, her name never comes up. anybody that gets killed, anything that happens is the fault of the secretary of state. that seems to be what they're saying.
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>> you know, it's a stretch. you know that, chris. she did not do anything that would cause any culpability, any charge of culpability on the secretary's part. you know, you can say that the commander in chief of the military is responsible for every military fatality, but, you know, it's a stretch. common sense tells you that people who make decisions are accountable for the results of that decision. hillary clinton did not make any decisions that resulted in the death of ambassador stevens. if anything, ambassador stevens was responsible for what happened, but not culpable. he was loved by the libyans because he chose not to stay behind walls. he chose to get out among the libyan people. and twice he rejected the idea
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of having a security force around him so that he wouldn't be, you know, cut off from the people. the libyan people loved him. in fact, it was the libyans that rescued him from that building, got him to the hospital trying to save his life. unfortunately, he died of asphyxiation from the smoke and the flames, as did the i.t. specialist that was with him. hillary was not culpable, and there was no white house cover-up. and the bipartisan report makes that clear. >> let me go to mr. carafano. is there ever any way we're going to get a report? i do believe feinstein, although a democrat, has to be something, she is a grownup. and this committee tends to be pretty bipartisan. what do you expect to come out of this thing? i know the republicans are using it as a battering ram to get to her. but i didn't see it in the report. >> yeah, well, i got to tell you, first of all, i like a lot of things jim said, and i agree with him. i really like the report because it does something in a lot of detailed information.
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my number one issue from the beginning hasn't been who is responsible. it was how does this happen. we have embassies, consulates and missions all over the world. a lot of them are in the category called high risk, which we know people are out to get them. we know islamist terrorist groups like this as a target. we needed to learn inch we could from the situation so it didn't happen again. the thing i love most about the report is it gives us a lot of meat and potatoes about how we could have done a lot better. >> it also does something that i'm going to argue at the end dove show. it justifies not that there is not politics in every public statement on every sunday show. we know that. but on the basic facts, susan rice came on television, basically said that this was a result, it looks like the best estimate now is that this event occurred, this attack on our facility in benghazi, followed the all-day coverage in islamic press and all around the middle east of what was happening in cairo that day. what happened in cairo that day may well have resulted, nobody
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knows for sure, it seems based on the language of the protesters had something to do with the stupid anti-islamist film made by that nut out in california. so there was a daisy chain of connection. it wasn't some planned al qaeda operation. they never said al qaeda. it was certainly done by terrorists because it was an act of terror, and they used the word extremists in the talking points because that's what general petraeus uses to say terrorists. jim, all this talk about how rice got it wrong i think has been shot down by this bipartisan report. >> yes. i think -- well, you're talking to james or jim? >> well, let's start with congressman moran first? >> i happen to agree with james too. it seems like we may have a similar perspective. i think there may have been a connection. i don't think that susan rice had been given all of the information that we now have available. i think she was going on talking points. some of those talking points seemed a bit misleading, because we really haven't proven the direct connection between that
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anti-islamic video and the protest. but that may well have been what sparked it. i'm not sure that that's clear until we bring the individuals to trial who are directly responsible for the deaths. but i think susan was doing the best she could with the information available. and i don't think it was really fair to make their scapegoat for what occurred. >> let's look, for example, mr. carafano, let's take a look at what bob gates, the recent secretary of defense had to say. i think it's interesting to always hear what he has to say. >> many republicans certainly are saying and critics of hillary clinton are saying that this really is disqualifying for someone who wants to be commander in chief if she chooses to run. >> but it seems to me that the critical questions are what was offered to the ambassador, what did he reject, what did he ask for, and was it turned down?
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and if so, who turned it down and in what timeline. and did the question ever get to hillary or was the decision made by the undersecretary or the deputy secretary or somebody else. >> well, mr. carafano, it seems to me we now know from this bipartisan report that chris stevens, who everybody loved, the ambassador in country at the time basically asked that he would be -- he said he wants to rely on the libyan forces he was able to line up, the militia people. he didn't want more u.s. personnel at that post. >> yeah. well, just to go back to the point about the talking points for a second. one of the things that we are getting more information on is that there were contrasting views about what the sources were. i don't necessarily -- what i would quote the administration on that is normal. when you're in a chris crisis situation, normally you get conflicting reports coming in. and you have to sort of sort through that. and if you have information that directly contradicts other information that you have, i think you to deal with that rather than polish over it in
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the talking points, because then you wind up in exactly the situation the administration wound up in. you know, this is one of -- >> but that's a far cry from the attacks made on susan rice that her and the white house staff people, the flaks if you will, it looks like they went right through what they were given. >> the footnote to that is there was other input which wasn't included. and was that prudent? but that's a whole another issue. gates makes some really good points. this has been the thing we haven't wanted to touch in the beginning, which is normally the ambassador is the head of the country team, and he is responsible for the safety, security of everybody on the ground. and a lot of these decisions did deal with him. and, of course, he can't speak for himself because he is dead. and i think we have been very reticent to say was he doing prudent things? was he excessive risks? this raises, more interesting questions. but it still doesn't answer all
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those either. >> i think you said the same thing congressman moran said. the man was a dashing figure, a gutsy guy who went out almost like a peace corps why and didn't mind connecting with people. >> he was a risk taker. we need more people like him, chris. >> nobody is questioning his courage. he was a courageous man. >> he wasn't a pinstripe guy handing out cookies. >> thank you jim moran and james carafano. up next, why chris christie has more to worry about than hillary clinton as of this show. this is "hardball," the place for politics. life could be hectic. as a working mom of two young boys angie's list saves me a lot of time. after reading all the reviews i know i'm making the right choice. online or on the phone, we help you hire right the first time. with honest reviews on over 720 local services.
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why operation road hog, and that's what i'm calling the george washington bridge closure, a bigger deal for chris christie's presidential hopes
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we're back. hillary clinton and chris christie are still at the top of the food chain for 2016, both leading the polls.
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but both are also facing big hurdles. despite weathering the storm for a year and a half now, hillary clinton is still dogged by cries of benghazi. the word itself is a call to arms among the republican rank and file. for chris christie, his challenges are just beginning. his administration is deeply involved in this scandal which threatens to destroy his career. who has the bigger challenge moving forward? hillary or christie? kelly ann, who has the strongest line of defense facing this, hillary or the governor? >> probably hillary. but i want to say from the beginning, neither story is great for their respective political futures, but they're also not on the same scale. i do want to acknowledge that in benghazi people died, no disrespect because i'm giving political analysis. but in the case of bridge gate, the investigation should be ongoing by the time the campaign is in earnest.
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hillary testified a year ago. i think what's been difference are their immediate responses. hillary and others blamed a tape instead of terrorists, said, what difference does it make? christie expressed, apology, humiliation and embarrassment. but i don't think it's on the same scale. if you gave me an s.a.t. test and said hillary is to bridgegate, very few people would say that. >> certainly the news report and the reading i've done of the senate committee report by diane feinstein, who is a grown-up -- and it's a sound report -- it blames the state department whole hog because they run the show. it doesn't show a line to her in terms of a call to her, how about more troops, more security and she said no. >> no. >> nothing tied it to her that i could find. >> no, nothing did tie it to her.
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senator feinstein was forced to come out today saying, stop the comparisons. i really appreciate kelly ann's honesty. these things are not comparable. benghazi is a tragedy, not a scandal, and no one has ever linked it to hillary clinton directly. as you've said before, ambassador stevens himself wanted a light military footprint and wanted to work with the local folks. whereas the bridge scandal is a scandal. we do know people, whether or not the governor knew about it, ordered this as some sort of reprisal and politics. it's the kind of thing that americans grasp easily. benghazi didn't get through. mitt romney tried to use it. and the american people see it as a fog-of-war scandal. it's only a scandal on the right, not with the american public. >> let me put the question to kelly ann.
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come 2016 at the republican convention wherever it's held, will not the keynote speaker, the people get up on that platform use the word "benghazi," or will they not? will it still be a red hot poker to jam at hillary clinton? >> maybe not. i think at that point her challenges will be many. and benghazi will be part of it. but her challenges are really going to come from the left. i think what bridgegate -- >> at the convention? >> -- people are inclined not to support them in excuse to do that. both of them have trouble with their base in that regard. she's got trouble from the left. you'll find people running against her, much to people's surprise, maybe howard dean is on this network, why not? and christie's always had a little bit of trouble from the right. so i think it gives people an excuse. but come the convention and the
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couple minutes campaign, i think this presidential campaign will be what it always is after a two-term president? do you want to extend that into a third term, or do you want something different? >> that's good for your party. >> it goes way beyond benghazi for clinton and into the realm of are you going to own or disown the affordable care act, the -- >> it took you seven minutes to get to affordable care. but that's all right. >> -- not mean anything in a democratic primary. if clinton is charged from the left, governor dean even said nice things about her the other day. benghazi will not play a role in the democratic primary. that will not be a problem. >> thank you. >> we'll be right back.
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let me finish tonight with this. i'm impressed by that bipartisan report of the senate intelligence committee. it must have been good and gratifying news for national security adviser susan rice. point one, what rice said to "meet the press" about the attack on the benghazi facility was true. it was a spontaneous opportunistic attack that had been triggered by a similar attack in cairo that day, an attack that was triggered, they suspect, by that anti-islamist movie made by some character out in california. two, the failure to use the word terrorist was a decision of the cia who wrote the talking points. the ones rice used on "meet the press." this cia, including david
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petraeus at the time used the word extremist, not terrorist, to mean part of a terrorist organization. it was his and the organization's word choice, not rice's. >> third, they tracked the talking points. she did what the cia told her to say. she didn't mention al qaeda because they made a point to take it out of the talking points. they, the agency, chose to take it out. so somebody out there owes miss rice an apology, don't you think? don't you think. that's "hardball." "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. >> good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. the subpoenas are here. we don't know all of the details yet, but the next chapter of the chris christie bridge scandal started today. >> i want to assure the people of new jersey of one t.

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